Motorola Mobility Keeps Burning Google’s Money

Ben Popper, The Verge:

Over the last eight months, losses at Google’s Motorola Mobility have accelerated despite three rounds of layoffs that slashed around 6,000 workers. The division is now on pace to bleed $1 billion a year out of the search giant’s bank account.

Last month Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside announced the company was shipping 100,000 Moto X smartphones every week. Apple also announced it sold nine million iPhones—iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c combined—in three days. An apples to apples comparison would be units per day and for just one model of iPhone. And let’s make the math easy by assuming the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c sold equally well:

  • Moto x: 14.3K
  • iPhone 5s or 5c: 1500K

Yes, the iPhone 5s and 5c sales numbers will probably have dropped after the first three days and will continue to be on a downward trajectory with spikes along the way as the iPhones become available in new markets, but I present this single datum to make a simple point: The iPhone, per model, sells roughly 100x per day than the Moto X. Apple makes lots of money; Motorola doesn’t seem to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m rooting for Motorola. I want the smartphone market to have intense competition. Remember the RAZR V3? Motorola did an amazing job with the RAZR. I still have mine. Once in a while I open it up and press those laser-cut buttons, because it feels really good. It’s almost addicting. The Moto X is only the first fruit of a closer Google / Motorola Mobility collaboration. Let’s be honest: 100K per week in shipments is nothing to brag about, but it’s a start. It takes time to get everything right and I look forward to what the two can come up with in the not-so-distant future.